An Open Letter To My CEO
talia jane

I, too, have an English degree and wanted to work in media when I graduated college (‘99). I didn’t get that dream job of working in a high-profile magazine that I thought I was clearly qualified for (even though I wasn’t). Instead, I got a shitty editorial job at a vanity press that was only slightly better than minimum wage (about $18k/year with very poor benefits). I had to work an additional job (the same p/t job I had had during college) just for the benefits. I worked that crappy job (with some really awful coworkers, I’ll add) for a year. I knew I couldn’t last longer than that.

Then, I went back to my p/t job and worked it full-time so I could simply be paid a living wage (I think it was about $30k/year). And it was customer service, and it sucked. In the meantime, I took advantage of my employer’s tuition reimbursement program and went back to school to get an MA in Communications. With that, I was also able to get a promotion at said company and worked there until I was no longer obligated to (a function of the tuition reimbursement program), which BTW was another 3 years or so. And from there, I was able to develop a career in PR that has kept me going for 15+ years.

BTW — none of these jobs fed us EVERY DAY.

You made some decisions, and no matter how crappy the company is where you work, you have the freedom to make better (or worse) decisions. Instead of complaining publicly about your company, your pay, your benefits (which sound a hell of a lot better than what most people get), you should take a hard look at your own decisions and then DECIDE to do something better. You make your own luck, your own opportunities. No one is going to simply hand them to you because you think you deserve it.

On second thought — maybe you should go volunteer in a homeless shelter and see what it’s like to be truly poor.

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